Unequally Yoked: A Catholic Marries an Agnostic (Part II)

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***This is the secondof a three-part post chronicling the spiritual journey of our marriage. Born and raised a devout Catholic, I didn’t take my faith as seriously in college and began dating a pro-choice agnostic. This is the story of how we balanced the yoke. If you’ve ever wondered if a Catholic can marry an agnostic without compromising the Catholic’s faith, read on. Our story may help you discern whether a marriage of “mixed cult,” or between a baptized and unbaptized party, is a good idea.

Read Part I here.

He called the next day and said “I have been thinking, and I am ok with getting married in the Church.  You were raised Catholic and you’re a good person, so it can’t be all that bad.”  I was overjoyed! I promised God I would thank Him for that grace the rest of my life.  Superman also agreed that we would use Natural Family Planning (NFP) in our marriage for the times we had serious reasons to avoid pregnancy.  Although he didn’t understand the moral consequences of artificial birth control, he knew that he didn’t want me pumping my body full of cancer-causing hormones.  That September, our precious daughter was born, and we were married in the Church three months later. I offered up the pain of my first childbirth for my husband’s conversion. Since I waited a *bit* too long to get my epidural, well…I’m pretty sure his soul made some decent progress because of that! Hah!

The first years of our married life were tough for me spiritually.  Though I had made much spiritual progress from the place I was when I resented the Lord, I was now resenting our disunity in faith.  Because I resented it, I didn’t go to Mass every Sunday.  I went once a month, maybe.  I reasoned that my infant didn’t know we were missing Mass, so did it really matter?  My prayers were sporadic at best.  My love for God was more like a wimpy tealight candle than a blazing inferno. Continue reading

5 Ways to Bring Christ into Your Workday

5 Ways to Bring Christ to Your Workday

Sometimes, when I find myself overwhelmed, distracted, and drowning in deadlines and busywork, it’s easy to lose focus of what I should be doing and to flounder along. In these situations, I am usually in over my head and don’t know where to start to dig out of the chaos I’m in. Putting my headphones in and shutting my office door helps, but I often find the most success when I take a two minute break to quietly collect my thoughts, meditate on Christ as the center of my life, and ask my Guardian Angel where to dive in first. How do I do that? Here are five ways that help me – but I’d love your suggestions, too! Continue reading

Little Bit O’ Lagniappe [Vol. 2]

**In Cajun French, “lagniappe” (pronounced ‘lan-yap’)  is a term that means “a little something extra,” or a happy surprise. From time to time, I will write a post that has a bunch of little thoughts all captured in once place; a veritable “snapshot” of my life in the moment. Hopefully, something in the mix catches your eye and you can take a little “lagniappe” with you to brighten your day!

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Natural Beauty
Last weekend brought coolish temps to the Houston area, if only for those two days, and I couldn’t be more grateful.  One of the things I love about the house we’re renting is our simple deck.  My husband and I relished the opportunity to wake up with the sun, sit out on our porch with some hot coffee, and just breathe deep the cool air and the sights and sounds of morning breaking.  So simple, but so good for our souls.  Unfortunately, it’s back to the muggies this week.  I can’t wait for that next cool front!

Soundtack of my life

Lately, the song “Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)” by Don McLean has been stalking me.  Every time I get in the car, go into a store, or put my music player on shuffle, that song turns up.  I had never really listened to the lyrics, but since the song is following me everywhere I go, I decided to just sit still for four minutes and three seconds to see what Don had to say about Vincent Van Gogh.  In doing so, I was surprised at the poetry in McLean’s words.  In a way, this song is a work of art itself.  The word choice is beautiful, describing Van Gogh’s famous work: “Shadows on the hills/Sketch the trees and the daffodils/Catch the breeze and the winter chills/In colors on the snowy linen land”  The whole song is like that. Of course, the sadness inherent in the melody is reflective of the sadness of Van Gogh’s life and eventual suicide.  Reflecting on this, I’m reminded of those we’ve lost to suicide throughout the centuries – Marc Antony, Judas, Ernest Hemingway, and most recently, Robin Williams – and reminded to pray for their souls.

Continue reading

My Very First 7 Quick Takes #7QT


Today, I am ridiculously excited to roll out my very first 7 Quick Takes! Seems like a fitting way to end my first official week of blogging here at OeLeM. And thus, without further ado…

— 1 —

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In a nod to my #7QT host blog, Conversion Diary, I recommend that you get your hot little hands on a copy of Jennifer Fulwiler’s memoir Something Other Than God. It’s a quick read. I laughed, I cried — I couldn’t put it down, then proceeded to buy two more copies to send to friends. (Also, watch the video in that link. You won’t regret it.)

— 2 —

Last weekend, I was blessed to be able to attend the Fullness of Truth conference held at our home parish of St. John Vianney here in Houston. The topic was the New Evangelization, and how we as Catholics have a duty to evangelize not only those who have never heard of Christ, but specifically to those who have heard of Christ but do not yet truly know Him. It was my first time to hear each of the three presenters speak, and I was inspired by the talks from Dr. Scott Hahn, Dr. Michael Barber, and Dr. John Bergsma. The talks for the weekend aren’t uploaded to the Fullness of Truth site for purchase yet, but they should be soon.

— 3 —

Fortnight for Freedom graphicJune 21st marks the beginning of the Third Annual Fortnight for Freedom, led by the United States Conference of Catholic bishops. According to the website, “The Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to Serve will take place from June 21 to July 4, 2014, a time when our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. The theme of this year’s Fortnight will focus on the freedom to serve the poor and vulnerable in accord with human dignity and the Church’s teaching.” Check out their website for ideas to celebrate, discuss, and pray for religious freedom in the United States. What is your parish, or family, doing to observe the Fortnight?

— 4 —

I visited London for the first time recently, and one of the things I fell in love with over there was a little eatery called Pret-A-Manger. It’s a Subway-meets-Panera-meets-Starbucks kind of joint, and they are all over London. They have many different varieties of deliciousness crammed into their cafes, but my favorite takeaway was a yummy beverage called “Yoga Bunny Detox.” No, I’m not kidding:

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Oh, to have a Yoga Bunny Detox and a Salmon and Dill Mustard wrap right now…alas, the closest location to this girl is in Chicago. That’s a bit far from the Texas coast, y’all!

— 5 —

My daughter Elizabeth makes her First Communion next spring, and I am already getting excited! I’ve started a whole Pinterest board devoted to possibilities for the dress. I would love to do something that incorporates my wedding dress, but it’s satin, and I had more of a cottony look in mind. Maybe something with smocking? Anyway, the big day is still a way off, but we’ve already started reviewing her Catechism questions. She has eagerly been explaining to anyone who will listen that she is going to be able to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus “in just a few more months!” Seeing her so happy at the mere thought of receiving Our Lord is such a joy to me.

— 6 —

Happy feast of St. Anthony of Padua! St. Anthony is the patron my husband chose for his very own when he was Baptized and Confirmed last year. We celebrate feast days of our patrons in a big way around here — almost as big as our birthday celebrations! This often means that, just like a birthday, I’m up at the crack of dawn baking or cooking a special breakfast for everyone before I leave for work. It’s important to us that we impress upon our children that the Saints in Heaven are our friends and our intercessors, and to make their presence tangible for the kids. We started this morning off with Pain Perdue, or “Lost Bread,” which is a fancy way of saying “french toast.” The bread is considered “lost” because french toast is traditionally made with stale, or “lost” bread that would otherwise be thrown out. This breakfast is the perfect start to the day set aside to honor the patron saint of lost souls and lost articles! We will also have some goldfish later as a snack, in recognition of St. Anthony’s sermon to the fish, and then Daddy gets to choose what’s for supper. If there’s time, we will also attempt to pot some basil plants, another tradition associated with the feast day. And just before bed, we will curl up for some of Fr. Lovasik’s great storytelling as we learn about this great saint!

— 7 —

As I mentioned in my Intro post, I am a huge fan of the Divine Mercy devotion. I particularly like to pray the chaplet during the Hour of Mercy at 3pm every day, but this is not always feasible in the workplace. There are meetings, conference calls, and other types of distractions that keep me from faithfully keeping this devotion during the workweek. Often, I don’t even realize it’s so late in the afternoon already. So, what to do? For now I set an appointment on my calendar, which is synced to my phone and desktop, that reminds me at 3:00 to focus on the Mercy of Christ for one minute. This can consist of something as simple as repeating to myself, “Jesus, I trust in You,” or, “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” I also try to focus on the small Divine Mercy holy card that I have taped near my desk. One minute isn’t much, but it’s better than forgetting altogether or rushing through the devotion just to get back to work faster. I’d love to hear your ideas on how to observe certain prayer times (Divine Mercy hour, the Angelus, Liturgy of the Hours) in the chaos of your day!

Thanks for a great first week of blogging — have a wonderful and safe weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!